Litigation can be costly and when asked to take on the added expense of obtaining a court reporter for a hearing or trial, as a client you want to know what the benefit is.
For starters, a court reporter is a person that types up everything that is said during the court proceedings. Court reporters are specially trained, aside from being impressively fast at typing, they are trained in legal terms and courtroom proceedings to accurately preserve what is being said in the courtroom. The court reporter will transcribe what is said and produce official written transcripts of the legal proceeding. The transcript list everything that is said and who said it, when reviewing a transcript, it reads like a movie script. For example:
Judge: I see that Petitioner filed a Request for Oder to modify child custody and visitation.
Attorney: That is correct your honor, the Request for Order was filed on March 9, 2020.
It can be crucial to your case to have a court reporter and a copy of your hearing or trial transcript. During the court proceeding a lot of things are said and typically at the end of the hearing or trial the judge will make their ruling. This is often done orally wherein the judge provides their ruling and the reason they made that ruling. Afterwards, generally one of the lawyers will have to prepare an order or judgement based on what the judge said. Sometimes, amongst the attorneys there can be a disagreement on what the judge said and in order to have the issue resolved in front of the judge, it can take months to get back into the courtroom. However, if the parties have a copy of the court transcript this can alleviate any disagreements as the parties will have what was said in writing. So taking on the expense of having a court reporter and purchasing the transcript can save you time and money by not having to return to court to litigate any possible misunderstanding of the order or judgment.
Another key reason to ensure you have a court reporter for your hearing or trial is if for some reason you want to appeal the court ruling this would be nearly impossible without a transcript of the proceedings. A transcript can sometime be the only piece of evidence that will make or break a case on appeal, without a transcript there is little to no hope to successfully file an appeal. While you may not go into a court proceeding anticipating filing an appeal, having a court reporter helps preserve that right for your should it be necessary, it’s a small price to pay for piece of mind and the preservation of your right to appeal.
When is a court reported provided by the court?
Typically, official court reporters are available in felony criminal cases, juvenile matters, and family law matters (with the exception of family law trials), during regular court hours.
Official court reporters are not normally available in civil matters, or probate matters. When the court does not provide them, your attorney will coordinate with a court reporter service to retain the services of a court certified court reporter to be present at your court proceeding and transcribe the hearing.
The costs for a court reporter can vary depending if they are needed for only a few hours or for full days, such as during a trial. This may seem like an unnecessary added expense but as stated above it can save you money in the long run and preserve your right to appeal.
By Iris Gomez, Esq. Attorney at Contreras Law Firm